Trucking companies in Michigan and around the country must obtain operating authority from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration before they can engage in interstate commerce. In 2019, the FMCSA processed about 8,500 applications for it each month. In 2021, the number of applications surged to approximately 17,000 per month. In April 2023, an FMCSA statistician linked the rise in applications for operating authority with a corresponding rise in truck accidents.
The statistician made connection during the FMCSA’s Analysis, Research, and Technology Forum, and he based his observations on preliminary data gathered by the federal road safety agency between 2018 and 2021. The data reveals that new carriers only maintain excellent safety records for about a year. In 2018, trucking companies that had recently been granted operating authority were involved in about 1.3% of all bus and semi-tractor trailer accidents. By 2021, that figure had risen to 3.5% of motor vehicle crashes involving large trucks and buses.
Electronic commercial vehicle inspection
Those who attended the FMCSA forum also learned about a new commercial vehicle inspection that will be conducted remotely while semi-tractor trailers are in motion. The FMCSA believes that the new approach could lead to a tenfold increase in commercial vehicle inspections. Commercial vehicle safety systems will be evaluated during Level VIII inspections, and hours of service and commercial driver’s license information will be checked against FMCSA and state databases in real time.
When a vehicle operator is involved in an increasing number of accidents, it often means corners are being cut and safety guidelines are being disregarded. When tens of thousands of vehicle operators crash more often, it could indicate that safety regulations are not being enforced strictly enough. The FMCSA data linking new carriers to a rise in truck accidents suggests that stricter oversight may be needed.